Woman burnt to death while ‘saving items’

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 24, 2011

AN elderly woman was burnt to death in her home in Mendi, Southern Highlands, as she was trying to save belongings from raging fires.
But police believe the death last Friday was premeditated and are treating it as arson. Remains of her body were found scattered all over the house.
Police reports said the woman was sleeping in her house with her five children at Wakwak village, next to Mendi town, and woke up at about 3am to light a cigarette.
After lighting the cigarette, police believed she threw what she lit the cigarette with into a corner of the house which started the fire.
Police said the woman tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire because the blaze had spread quickly. She managed to get the children out of the house but re-entered to collect some personal belongings and was trapped.
Her remains are at the Mendi General Hospital morgue.
Provincial police commander Teddy Tei said they became suspicious  when they found out that personal effects had been  removed from the house before the fire.
He said the people had earlier accused the woman of being in possession of a poisonous substance to kill people.
Tei said there had been many similar killings in the province and warned people not do that.
“People are merely suspicious and go to the extreme of killing or seriously wounding the suspects without establishing the evidence,” he said.